Seattle Times reporter Bob Condotta breaks down this week’s Seahawks opponent. Last year, the Cowboys handed the Seahawks a loss at CenturyLink Field. Here are key players to watch, the early betting line and broadcast information for Sunday's matchup in Dallas.
Game time: 1:25 p.m., Sunday, AT&T Stadium.
TV: Ch. 13.
2015 record: 2-4, last in NFC East.
Coach: Jason Garrett.
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The series: Cowboys lead it 10-5 and have won four of the past five, including 30-23 last year in Seattle. The Seahawks’ most recent visit to Dallas was a 23-13 defeat Nov. 6, 2011.
Early line: Seahawks by 6.
QB Matt Cassel: Tony Romo remains on injured reserve and is not eligible to return until Nov. 22 against Miami. So the Seahawks are likely to see Cassel, who played at USC under current Seahawks coach Pete Carroll. Cassel started his first game for Dallas on Sunday ahead of Brandon Weeden, who started the first three games after Romo’s injury, all defeats. Cassel’s strength is the deep ball, but he had three interceptions Sunday against the Giants, one of which was returned for a touchdown. He would be helped greatly by the return of receiver Dez Bryant, who might be back after missing the past five games because of a foot injury.
RB Darren McFadden: The No. 4 overall draft choice in 2008 is in his first season in Dallas after seven in Oakland. And he’s coming off his best game with the Cowboys with 152 yards on 29 carries against the Giants. It was the first time he topped the 100-yard mark since 2013 and his most yards since his rookie season. There had been a thought last week that former Seahawk Christine Michael would get more carries, but with McFadden’s success, Michael had just 18 yards on five carries.
DE Greg Hardy: The 2013 Pro Bowler has three sacks and eight tackles in two games since coming off the suspended list. Hardy sat out the first four games as punishment for domestic-abuse charges that led to his departure from the Carolina Panthers, his team from 2010-14. He already has been the subject of much controversy in Dallas after getting into a sideline argument Sunday with Bryant and then engaging in a terse postgame meeting with the media.
OLB Sean Lee: A second-round choice out of Penn State in 2010, Lee again is considered one of the better outside linebackers in the NFL after missing last season with a knee injury. Lee was the NFC’s defensive player of the week after making 14 tackles with an interception in a Week 2 victory over Philadelphia. He had a team-high nine tackles Sunday against the Giants.
Dallas’ keys to success: The Cowboys entered the season thinking a punishing offensive line, Romo and Bryant would give them one of the NFL’s better offenses. They also thought their defense, which was middling last year, would improve, making the Cowboys one of the teams to beat in the NFC. But it’s been a season of disappointment for Dallas, which already has as many defeats as it did last season when it won the NFC East and then beat Detroit in the wild-card round before losing to Green Bay in a divisional playoff game. Dallas has lost all four games since Romo got hurt (Bryant played only the opener) as the passing offense has slipped. Bryant was eighth in the NFL last season in receiving yards with 1,320, and his 16 receiving touchdowns led the NFL. Dallas was second to Seattle in rushing offense in 2014 but hasn’t been as consistent this season. One silver lining of the defeat Sunday was the Cowboys’ season-high 233 rushing yards. Dallas’ defense has been pretty good against the run, ranking ninth at 101.3 yards allowed per game. The biggest issue, other than the injuries to Romo and Bryant, has been turnovers. Dallas has forced just three this season, all against the Eagles, and has lost seven in the past four weeks. The Cowboys have a 12-3 turnovers lost-to-gained ratio for the season.